China names first Mars rover ‘Zhurong’

Beijing, April 25

China has named its first Mars rover ‘Zhurong’ after the traditional fire god, the media reported China National Space Administration (CNSA) as saying on Saturday—China’s Space day.

Zhurong is the god of fire in ancient Chinese mythology, which echoes the Chinese name of the red planet, Huoxing (meaning the planet of fire), the Xinhua reported.

Fire brought warmth and brightness to the ancestors of humankind, and fire lit up human civilisation. Naming China’s first Mars rover after the god of fire signifies igniting the flame of China’s planetary exploration, Wu Yanhua, Deputy Director of the CNSA, was quoted as saying.

Literally, Zhu (meaning wish) expresses the good wishes for humankind’s exploration of the universe. Rong (meaning integration and cooperation) reflects China’s vision of the peaceful use of space and the building of a community with a shared future for humanity, Wu said.

The name is another example of Chinese aerospace workers’ scientific romance as they have named spacecraft, including Tianwen, Chang’e and Beidou, after Chinese traditional culture, which also shows the Chinese people’s spirit of exploration and cultural confidence, he said.

China launched its Mars probe—Tianwen-1 — on July 23, last year. The spacecraft, consisting of an orbiter, a lander and a rover, entered the parking orbit of Mars on February 24 this year.

The orbiter is equipped with seven kinds of scientific instruments: two remote-sensing cameras, Mars-Orbiting Subsurface Exploration Radar, Mars Mineralogy Spectrometer, Mars Magnetometer, Mars Ion and Neutral Particle Analyzer and Mars Energetic Particle Analyzer.

The six-wheel solar-powered rover, looking like a blue butterfly with a mass of 240 kg, carries the Terrain Camera, Multispectral Camera, Mars-Rover Subsurface Exploration Radar, Mars Surface Composition Detector, Mars Magnetic Field Detector and Mars Meteorology Monitor.

The Tianwen-1 aims to map the morphology and geological structure, investigate surface soil characteristics and water-ice distribution, analyze the surface material composition, measure the ionosphere and the characteristics of the Martian climate and environment at the surface and perceive the physical fields and internal structure of Mars, the report said. IANS

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